Faith and the Law of Attraction

I’ve followed Jesus my whole life, and more recently have been learning the Law of Attraction, largely from Esther and Jerry Hicks, but from other sources as well (like from The Secret and the Law of Attraction). The most surprising thing I discovered, is that the more I learn the Law of Attraction, the more I’ve realized that this is exactly what Jesus and Paul taught throughout their lives. I recognized it immediately. There is much to say on the Bible and the Law of Attraction, but today’s post is about faith and Law of Attraction.

Step 1 – Ask

Just as Esther Hicks says the first step is to ask, so does Jesus tell us to give all our requests to God. Just as a human father delights in giving good gifts to his children, how much more does our Heavenly Father delight in showering us with gifts as well? He is the source of love!

Step 2 – Source Answers

As soon as we ask, it is answered with a YES, and Source/God/Our Creator begins immediately to line things up on our behalf. Jesus teaches us to ask God our requests, and then to thank Him right away, even before we see our prayers answered. Thank Him ahead of time, as if it’s already done (because it is!).

I do believe that God is sovereign over all things, and over every detail of our lives. This means that maybe sometimes the answer may seem like a no, for various reasons. Sometimes it’s really just a “wait for my timing.” Sometimes there’s a better answer, different from our own, but better for our purpose in this life. As we trust in God and the Holy Spirit to guide us, we will be led to this better answer, path or manifestation.

Sometimes we never see the “yes” answer because we get in our own way with our inner resistance and low vibrations of doubt, fear, worry, etc. In other words, we don’t let God have our request – we keep worrying over it like a dog over a bone, holding it close, instead of letting it go.

Step 3 – Get into the Receiving Mode

Esther/Abraham Hicks says to then get into the Receiving Mode, also called the Art of Allowing. To get out of your own way, out of your doubts, disbelief and fears, and into the flow of perfect trust that God is taking care of it. Give it to Him and let it go. The quicker we can get into the place of perfect trust and peace, the quicker our desire can manifest and come to us.

Jesus speaks of the “peace that passeth understanding.” Peace so perfect and pervading, we can relax and rest in the ease of it, in the complete and total trust that God has this, and He’s taking care of it in His perfect timing. And that He’s in charge, so no matter what happens, He has us in the palm of His hand.

Again, be thankful and grateful for the answer to our request, even before we see it – thanking God for it as if it’s already here.

Just as Jesus teaches us to observe the lilies of the field and the birds of the air – how they live in constant, perfect trust in their Creator for all their provision, so we can learn from them. This is a great advantage to living with pets – just watch them. They do not fret with worry, but relax into each day’s delight.

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.” Proverbs 3:5-6 (This is a song I sing to myself often.)

Step 4 – Make This a Habit

Esther/Abraham Hicks teaches that Step 4 is to make Step 3 a habit. In other words, practice and get really good at living in the flow and in this perfect place of trust. Mind your thoughts and feelings, which affect your vibration.

“Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable–if anything is excellent or praiseworthy–think about such things.” Philippians 4:8

Jesus learned to live this way, as did Paul.

Step 5 – Master the Art of Allowing

Step 5 is all about mastery of living in the flow. It’s about knowing that there will be times when you’re upset, when life shows you contrast to help you decide what it is you like and what it is you don’t like. That there will be times of trial and difficulty. But when you’ve reached Step 5, you’ve practiced the higher vibrations long enough that you know these times come, and it’s okay. You don’t let it take you out of your oneness and alignment with your Source – or if it does for a little while, you know what to do to get back into perfect trust again. You acknowledge it’s part of this life on earth, part of your journey, and you learn to trust in spite of what’s going on, knowing that this too, shall pass. And that this too, can be given completely to God, and you can learn to trust Him in it. You’ve learned how to work your way back to the place of flow and trust in your Source, and how to quickly pivot your thoughts to ones of gratitude and thankfulness for any little or big thing in your life.

The Bible tells us to give our praises to God in all things, even in trials. David learned to do this to survive through his deepest, darkest days and nights, running for his life. This is called offering a sacrifice of praise, when you choose to praise God even in the midst of your darkest hour. There’s a reason we’re told to do this. It raises our vibration, bringing us closer to God and in perfect trust in Him, and giving Him the glory in all things.

“Rejoice evermore. Pray without ceasing. In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.” (Thessalonians 5:16-18)

“Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me.” -Jesus (John 14:1)

Paul speaks that he has learned, through every kind of trial (he almost died several times, suffered great persecution and

experienced an NDE), that he learned to trust God in all of it and in spite of what was going on in his daily life.

Faith and the Law of Attraction

I’ve been going back and forth between Steps 4 and 5 lately – often you may find yourself wobbling a bit, before finding yourself fully in the next step. My agent is selling my novel (I’ve changed my wording, so instead of saying “she’s pitching my novel,” I’m now saying “she’s selling my novel” – the words we say are important). I know I can get the call or email any moment in any day – talk about “being on tenterhooks!” In the meantime, I’m waiting; this is the point when it’s so easy to get discouraged, fearful, doubtful, etc. It’s an important lesson, waiting on the Lord, waiting in perfect trust in His divine timing. Giving the situation over to Him again and again, each time I find myself picking it back up to worry over. Giving my novel completely over to Him, and letting it go.

Today Jesus’ words, “If you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mulberry tree, ‘be uprooted and planted in the sea,’ and it will obey you.” (Luke 17)

We know that a mustard seed is one of the smallest seeds of the world. This verse never meant much to me, until this morning. I have mustard seed in my spice cupboard. I can hold one of these tiny grains in my palm – this, this is how much faith I need to have my desires manifest. This tiny, little, itsy-bitsy teeny-weeny round seed!

Suddenly this verse came alive, filling me with hope and joy. I can have this much faith, it only takes a minute amount!

I understand what he meant with that verse, finally!

And suddenly I was back in the vibration of knowing; knowing it’s coming, God is working behind the scenes, taking care of it, and it is happening in His perfect timing.

I can have faith as small as a mustard seed, I can do that. It’s doable for all. You only need to believe a tiny bit, then trust God.

Whew!

[Jerilyn Winstead is the author of her debut novel and series, Encyclopedeia Magica: Volume 1 – Alchemy, being sold now by her agent.]

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Make Money Online Easy – the Wealthy Affiliate University Review

Nowadays we have more opportunities than ever to build various sources of income, especially with the internet and a global market. This also means that there are more scams out there than ever – how does one know which program to trust and which to not? In this post I’ll talk about what everyone’s searching for – can you make money online easy? Well, that depends on how you define easy. Here I’ll give my Wealthy Affiliate Review.

PLEASE NOTE: There is a new scam out there calling themselves “Wealthy Affiliates.” Note they have an “s” at the end. I’ve looked at them, and from what I and my friend can tell, they are totally a scam. The legit one is the Wealthy Affiliate University, also known simply as Wealthy Affiliate. Please note the logo for Wealthy Affiliate. This one is legit, whether you sign up primarily to take advantage of the Wealthy Affiliate University online training, or want to use their awesome SEO tools to build any kind of website you want.

For myself, I started with Wealthy Affiliate in order to learn affiliate marketing as a blogger, since I’m building my career as a writer. But then, I decided to also use their SEO and website building tools and training to launch my own author website and blog, since I’m already a member there, and my first novel is being pitched by my agent as I write this in 2019.

Is Wealthy Affiliate University a Scam?

Please note again – if the company has an “s” at the end, as in “Wealthy Affiliates,” then yes, they are a scam as far as I can tell.

But Wealthy Affiliate University, aka Wealthy Affiliate (in the singular), is legit. I’m writing about this right now because they’re about to have their annual Black Friday sale, and this is the time to go premium with them.

One of the things I love about Wealthy Affiliate is that you can actually try them out for free. You can even launch some actual websites for free with their platform. They provide all the training you’ll need to build a successful affiliate marketing business through their Wealthy Affiliate University. The platform keeps track of your training and there are step-by-step tasks to help anyone become successful.

If you like the program, you can become a member for $49/month. This includes all of the training – and there are many various types and levels of training – as well as hosting up to fifty websites with them. They provide everything to easily buy your own domain name for any of your sites, if you wish (or use their free tool instead), and host your sites with them. I’ve now followed their instructions and have set up three different websites. They include all sorts of valuable extras with your websites with them, too, to help optimize your sites and keep them protected. Their tech support is unparalleled.

The best thing is the community – you will meet, follow and be followed by all sorts of wonderful people all over the world doing this along with you. Everyone is so friendly and supportive, it’s so awesome. My own mentor recently spent a month or more in Thailand while doing his laptop work from there – so cool.

So now with the Black Friday deal, it’s the time to purchase an annual membership – instead of the $49/month or the $359 a year, during the Black Friday sale you can get an annual premium membership for only $299 for the entire year. Once you get it on this price, you get to keep this low price from then on. Now this is a deal worth taking!

Make Money Online Easy

Is it easy? No, not really. For anyone who is serious about building a legit business, it takes lots of time, energy, focus and hard work. Will it pay off? Absolutely. There are so many successful marketers in the Wealthy Affiliate community to help and encourage us along the way – some of them are consistently making well over $2,000/month, some are at three figures a year. But this is from consistent, ongoing effort – going through all the training and spending at least a couple of hours a day consistently. Keep in mind, when you first start any business, you quite often have to put in a year or more of free work as the owner. It’s the same with affiliate marketing. You may start making some residual income in less than a year, or it may take more – it depends on you, how hard you work, how consistent you are, how focused you stay on the goal, how many articles you publish each week, etc.

You don’t have to be an experienced writer to do this successfully, the Wealthy Affiliate University gives you all the practical training you need to be successful. It just all depends on you.

Review of Wealthy Affiliate University

This is my review of Wealthy Affiliate University. I’ve been with them for over a year and just started making a tiny amount of money on my affiliate niche website. The reason I haven’t yet made more is because I’m simultaneously building my career as a freelance and novel writer. I need immediate income, so most of my focus and efforts have been on that. I finished my first novel, queried it out, and got an agent three months later. Then I spent time with agent, sending it back and forth as we honed and polished and edited my manuscript until it was perfect. Now she’s pitching it to publishers.

In the meantime, I got the idea to use Wealthy Affiliate to also build my author website. So I’ve started that and have been building up that site, not so much as an affiliate site (though I do recommend books found on Amazon once in a while on the craft of writing, etc.), but as my main author site. I’ve been using the SEO, research and training at the Wealthy Affiliate University to help me with my author site.

Since then, I became a Norwex consultant, mainly to get the awesome products at a discount, so then, I started a life hack website to specifically blog about all the great Norwex products as well as general life hacks.

I also started working as a freelance writer and have been ghost-writing novels for my first client. I’m no building my portfolio and getting some new ghost-writing clients for nonfiction as well.

So my focus and energies and time have been a bit scattered, and I’m working on three websites instead of one. I was getting a little discouraged that I’d fallen behind on the training and progress at Wealthy Affiliate, but one of the community members there (did I mention how great the community is?) encouraged me, reminding me that my novel writing is very important and that I’ve made much progress in that area.

Oh, I’ve also started my YouTube channel to eventually help promote my novel. In it, I play an inept magical school substitute teacher at Burrowgroves School of Magic. So that’s taken a bit of my time recently, too.

Wealthy Affiliate University Reviews

If you do any research online at all, you will quickly see that Wealthy Affiliate University, aka Wealthy Affiliate, is absolutely legit and a wonderful deal which you can even try for free. And don’t forget the Black Friday deal, to get their annual premium membership – now is the time to get that.

And remember that the online company calling themselves “Wealthy Affiliates” is a scam, from what I and my friend were able to tell (she accidentally signed up and was getting all sorts of email spam), so stay away from that one.

Make Money Online Easy?

It’s easy in the sense that you can work on your own time and from any location that has internet. It’s easy in that anyone can follow the step-by-step program and succeed at it. It’s not easy in that it takes consistent focus and hard work, and you can never give up even when you get discouraged. You have to be in it for the long haul.

Would I recommend it? Absolutely. For me, even though the passive income has been slow in coming (and my work very on-again, off-again as I do other career-building projects), everything I’ve learned and continue to learn has been very valuable. I’m building my author website in anticipation of my book series getting published, using the best SEO and website tools in the industry.

And did I mentioned the community on Wealthy Affiliate? They’re awesome!

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Best Places to Visit in Ireland, Part 2

Top Places to Visit in Ireland – Castles to Visit in Ireland

desmond-castle
Desmond Castle, Adare, Ireland

Castles are my favorite things and we were able to explore and tour
several, but wherever you drive in western Ireland there’s almost always
a castle ruin on the horizon somewhere, it’s amazing. Most of these are
locked away on private property. There are also ruins of 17th century
stone cottages everywhere, too, and they are also unique.

After we left Limerick our hostess pointed us to Adare,
one of the most picturesque villages in Ireland. There’s a whole row of
thatched-roof huts-turned-shops the town has restored, and the entire
village is beautiful with colorful houses adorned with windows boxes
lush with flowers, and there’s a gorgeous wooded park with a creek in
the center of town. Here we toured one of our favorite castles for a
small fee – the ones with a fee are the best well-kept ruins and the
most interesting to see. This Norman castle, Desmond Castle, is
huge compared to the keeps, Napoleon watchtowers and ruined medieval pigeon towers and manor houses we’d seen around Ireland.

dunguire-castle
Dunguire Castle, Ireland

Dunguire Castle near Galway City was also a
favorite, and the most intact, as it’s been restored several times over
the centuries. They even host a medieval banquet in the Great Hall on a regular basis – try to go if you can.

Visit Ireland on a Budget

This is how we did it:

  • First, we signed up for Next Vacay, watching our daily email flight deal alerts until we snagged our round-trip flights from Denver to London for $420 each (closer to $600 with luggage and seats). We enjoyed London for four days, then flew cheaply on Ryanair to Shannon Airport from Stansted Airport, in Essex outside of
    London – you can take a train there from London. I am not an affiliate
    of Next Vacay, but you can try their email subscription for free and if
    you like it, it’s only $25/year to get daily flight deal alerts – with
    them you can travel almost anywhere in the world for around $400-$500 round trip.
  • We planned our trip eight months in advance, having all that time to plan, save and prepare for the trip.
  • We stayed at AirBnb places everywhere we went. With AirBnb you can find accommodations to fit any budget, even nice hostels with private rooms. We stuck to a budget of around $50-$80 a night, and all the homes in Ireland included breakfast. The spacious flat in London was within walking distance of all the places we wanted to see, like St. Paul’s Cathedral, The Tower, The Museum of London, the Museum District with The British Museum, Southbank with the Globe, etc. So we used public transit and our feet in England, and all the museums are free. We bought the London Pass and used it for three days to visit the non-free places, and it was well worth it.
  • We rented a car in Ireland and drove to the places we
    specifically wanted to go. We mainly stayed in a smallish area around
    Shannon Airport in western Ireland. From Limerick or Adare it’s only a forty-five drive to the airport.
  • In both London and Ireland, my husband and I shared almost all of our meals, and we ate mostly at pubs. The food was amazing and delicious and we ate well. The portions were generally big enough for us to share, as we both eat smaller portions now. Sometimes we got our own entrees. The prices of meals were about the same as in America, we found, and they often included lots of sides.
    We also only ate out 1-2 times a day, mostly for lunch and supper.
  • We visited a lot of amazing places for free, like almost all the
    museums, many ruins, walking the island and the Dromore woods, etc. Even the castle tours didn’t cost much.

Reflections on Finally Visiting Ireland

After twenty-five years of dreaming of going to Ireland, we got to go
at last! I almost expected to hear an opera high note when disembarking
from the plane. Instead I found myself just soaking  everything in – it didn’t feel like magic, it was mostly cold and rainy, I was just seeing and experiencing everything. It wasn’t till later, after the trip, when I got to process it in my mind and memories and be amazed at the
incredible photos we got of the all the top places we visited in
Ireland. Here are some of my reflections:

    • Ireland is incredibly ancient, its history goes back a long way,
      over six thousand years. One Irishwoman mentioned that the Potato Famine happened in recent history, and there was still hurt from that towards the English (many English overlords took away all their tenants’ livestock for rent in the middle of the famine, leaving the Irish with nothing to eat when they were already starving). My Irish ancestors left during the potato famine, made it to Canada, then eventually into the U.S. To me the potato famine feels like ancient history. But her attitude helped me to understand how it is we’re still dealing with racist issues in America, as slavery is also only about 200 years ago – recent history with hurt feelings and racist attitudes and actions still going on.
    • In fact, with all their violent history and complications between the
      Irish and the English, and with Brexit posing a potential problem of renewed violence, the Irish in general seemed to be struggling
      emotionally. Keep in mind I was only there for eight days and only in western Ireland. But I noticed an undercurrent of sadness in the many locals we talked to, not readily apparent at first, for the Irish are friendly and tough and know how to roll with the punches and know how to drink. Maybe it has something to do with the constant rain, but I think it’s the hundreds of years of bad history with their neighbors. It really made me glad that my Irish ancestors were able to leave and start fresh in a new world, leaving all that behind. I’m so grateful that in young America we are filled with a youthful optimism and a knowing that we can accomplish anything.
    • Both my husband and I had a hard time understanding many of the locals, especially in the rural areas. It seemed like every person had their own version of the Irish accent, and most of them spoke fast in a quiet, murmuring way, so it was unexpectedly challenging at times.

There is so much to see and explore in Ireland, I want to go back every year. Would I want to live there? No, I’d be too far away from family and friends and the weather is not nearly as nice as sunny Colorado, or even England. But it’s an amazing, gorgeous, mysterious land with so much to discover in every nook and cranny. No, I didn’t hear an opera voice in my head when I arrived. Yes, I loved Ireland and every part of our trip and I want to go back often.

Please comment below any of your stories of the tops places to visit in Ireland, or castles to visit in Ireland, or how to visit Ireland on a budget. Let’s find our way back again!

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Best Places to Visit in Ireland, Part 1

My husband and I were supposed to go to Ireland for our first year anniversary, we had points and were going to do a week-long horse-back riding with B&B nights across the emerald isle. Instead, I ended up being eight months pregnant so we had to put it off. Now, four kids grown and almost gone, for our 25th anniversary we finally made it to Ireland!

These are my reflections on our visit and some of the best places to visit in Ireland. If you’re looking for where to visit in Ireland or for some top places to visit in Ireland, read on.

And may I mention, we managed to visit Ireland on a budget and had a wonderful time.

Top Places to Visit in Ireland – Ennis

We flew into Shannon Airport and spent the first couple of days in Ennis. Ennis means “island” and this quaint little town is surrounded by a flowing river on all sides, making it a literal island. Besides enjoying the traditional Irish town with pubs and live music, shops and an ancient friary, there are lots of things to do close by in this area. We signed up for an AirBnb Experience – a three-hour hike at the Cliffs of Moher. It was so much fun, the cliffs are about a 45-minute drive from Ennis, and our hostess took us on a back trail away from the tourist center and all the crowds. We saw the cliffs from a unique and gorgeous perspective, learned about the history of the Napoleon watch-towers and the highly-intelligent Fulmar birds which live on the cliffs year-round – they look like seagulls, only smaller. After our lovely hike we were treated to hot scones and tea at the studio of her artist friend.

Besides the Cliffs of Moher, in and around Ennis are no shortage of old, ruined churches, castles and abbeys:

  • The Clare Museum
  • The Clare Abbey
  • The Dysert O’Dea Castle
  • Bunratty Castle
  • The Ennis Cathedral
  • The Quin Abbey
  • The Killone Abbey
  • There’s also horse back riding and golf courses, as well as driving along the Wild Atlantic Way (the Cliffs of Moher and beyond).

Best of all, if you like hiking you can discover the wildness of Burren National Park and our personal favorite, the Dromore Woodland Reserve, tucked in a corner of the Burren. Go walking down the mossy path, past the castle ruin, and you’ll soon be lost in a magical fairy-land of lichen-covered stone walls, grassy soft mounds and shapes and old trunks and castle walls rising and falling under the undergrowth in mysterious and unusual ways.

Best Places to Visit in Ireland – Aran Islands: Inisheer

On the Cliffs of Moher you can gaze across the sea to the closest and smallest of the Aran Islands, Inisheer. You can see how a fire lit in the Napoleon Watchtower on the highest point of Inisheer could easily be seen here on the Cliffs, where this tower would then be lighted, and so on around the island, just like in Lord of the Rings, as the Irish had to watch for an imminent attack by Napoleon’s forces in the 1800s.

From Ennis, we drove our rental car, pausing for our hike in the Dromore Woods on the way, then stopping for lunch in Galway City. This is a favorite destination as it is a bigger traditional Irish town, so you have lots of shops and pubs and sites to see in this colorful town that is fun to walk around in.

From there we drove onto the Connemara Peninsula, stopping for lunch at one of the many villages dotting the road, then took our ferry to Inisheer. Its name means “island of the east” as it’s the eastern-most and smallest Aran Island. Inishmaan is literally the “middle island,” and Inishmore, “large island,” is the largest and western-most island of the three.

Inishmore has the most activities to do and the highest number of tourists, but we wanted a quiet time, so chose to spend all three of our days exploring Inisheer. The lovely thing about this island is that it is small, you cannot bring your car over, so you spend your time walking all over the island, it’s wonderful. The island is covered with low dry-stone walls, dividing the land into small parcels used for farming, sheep-herding, gardening, etc. There’s a castle ruin near the Napoleon watchtower on the hill, O’Brien’s Castle, and you can actually walk all around and in this ancient keep. There are few castles in Ireland now where you can do this – most, we found, are on private land and locked away, or charge a fee for a tour, which is always worth it and never costs much.

On Inisheer our crusty Irish host cooked us a traditional Irish breakfast every morning. Besides walking, you can rent bicycles or pay $10 for a 45-minute horse and buggy tour. You can buy a real Aran Island sweater (our host pointed us to a local islander knitting and selling them from her house across from the Castle Cafe near the castle), Man of Aran Fudge and Turkish delight and various arts and crafts made by local artisans. There’s an Arts Cultural Center with a museum, delicious food in the pubs and restaurants around the Castle Village town. In the middle of town is the stone-age barrow, Cnoc Raithni. Go to the old cemetery above the airport and discover the medieval church ruin St. Cavan’s Church sunk into the ground! Wander to the eastern side to see the Plassey shipwreck – I took mermaid photos there and swam in my tail at a small, private beach just past the tiny airport. Wander to the western side to see Inishmaan across the sea and be sure to find the other medieval church ruin from the 11th century, St. Gobnet’s Church, on the hill near the arts center. Every night there’s live Irish music at the hotel restaurant.

Top Places to Visit in Ireland – Limerick

After ferrying back to the mainland, we drove down to Limerick, staying at a nice AirBnb south of the city in the countryside. This was a perfect location – just fifteen minutes into the city north of us, or about twenty minutes south to one of the oldest historical sites in Ireland with the largest stone circle – Lough Gur.

Limerick is fun with lots of things to do – be sure to visit the Milk Market on a Saturday if you can, especially if you love flea markets, local foods and shopping. You’ll also want time to tour King John’s Castle, St. Mary’s Cathedral, St. John’s Cathedral, Limerick City Museum and absolutely stop by The Hunt Museum – you’ll find all kinds of crazy items this merchant collected over his lifetime, even artifacts from ancient Egypt and from stone-age British Isles. It were here in Limerick where we saw a young woman performing live Irish dancing at The Locke Bar with traditional music every night – that was so cool and gave me the chills.

Our favorite place of all was the ancient historical site of Lough Gur, where evidence of 6,000 years of human habitation has been found. Be sure to visit Ireland’s largest stone circle at Lough Gur, and you must take time for the Lough Gur Heritage Center, where you can go on an audio self-guided tour and see the various ancient ruins, climb the mossy steps into the trees, pass a fairy village, get a lovely view of the lake with wild swans, flanked by two hills with a medieval castle poking through the trees. Listen to the legends of the lady in the lake or the hollow hill and how it’s dangerous to go on it because a fairy king lives inside. In the free Heritage Center Museum you can see unusual artifacts like the bronze circular shield and artifacts from neolithic to medieval times.

Comment below some of your top places to visit in Ireland, and watch for Part 2 of The Best Places to Visit in Ireland, along with my own Reflections on Finally Getting to the Emerald Isle!

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Why I love FlyLady and the FlyLady Cleaning Schedule (for someone who doesn’t clean)

If you’re anything like me, housecleaning is on the bottom of your list, if on your list at all. Like, there are so many more interesting things I’d rather be doing, like starting a new knitting or craft project, working on my writing, reading a good book, playing my computer game, watching an awesome TV show, going on a bike ride or hike or taking a catnap.

But I also want a clean house. It doesn’t have to be spotless, the lived-in look is fine, but I want it to be generally clean on a regular basis. I just don’t want to do it myself. And I don’t always have the income to hire a cleaning lady (even when I do, I can only pay for her to come once a month – what about the other 29 days?)

Why I Love FlyLady

Over the years of having, raising, and sometimes homeschooling four kids close in age, I’ve tried various cleaning ideas and methods. I’ve even done about half of the method from The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Maria Kundo. That one was fun but very intense – both in time and energy. And later I wished I hadn’t gotten rid of some specific things. But it was nice to do it as a one-time thing, purging a lot of my stuff and getting rid of most of my paper files and clutter.

For me, the FlyLady system has proven the best, the easiest and the most effective, even when I haven’t done it consistently. (By the way, FlyLady does not have an affiliate program and I’m not getting anything for this review – I just love it so much.)

Why does it work so well?

  • Marla Ciley, who started FlyLady, knows exactly our struggles with clutter, lack of motivation, distractedness, it-never-quite-gets-done mindset. She’s been through it and devised ingenious methods for getting the house decluttered and clean anyway. All while learning to love ourselves, to think more positively, to take care of all parts of ourselves and our families, etc.
  • The FlyLady system is built on learning one small habit at a time. You start with the simple task of shining your kitchen sink every morning. With FlyLady’s 31 Babysteps, anyone can learn these easy, daily habits, slowly building up a lifestyle of organization and cleaning which makes it seem as if your house is cleaning itself. These habits are easy, simple and quick to implement.
  • Marla understands behavior patterns, and her system sends you emails throughout the day to encourage, remind and enable you to succeed.
  • If you mess up, stop doing it for a while, or miss a few days, it’s no problem, you can just jump right back in (and forgive yourself while you’re at it).

What is the FlyLady Cleaning Schedule?

The FlyLady system is wonderful, but it can be a little overwhelming to understand, navigate and implement – not because her website doesn’t have all the information (it does, loads of info – everything you need), but because there are so many layers to her program that it’s hard to get the big picture of it all. I highly recommend a delightful novel written with the character implementing the program and changing her life through the process. This book is a keeper: Hidden Treasures by Paddi Newlin, found on Amazon.com. FlyLady also has a recommended book, which I haven’t yet read, called Sink Reflections by Marla Ciley (found on Amazon.com and on FlyLady’s FlyShop).Many readers have said that they like this, her original book, better than her more recent one, The C.H.A.O.S. Cure. From what I’ve rea, they’re both similar enough I would just get one.

For your reference, here is the Big Picture of the FlyLady Cleaning Schedule:

  1. Start with learning The 31 BabySteps. (Just this alone will transform your home and life.) This will be your first month.
  2. Once you finish the 31 BabySteps, jump into where everyone is in the daily emails. Add the Weekly Home Blessing Hour.
  3. Then add the Habit of the Month. I don’t know about you, but having checklists and goals like this is fun.
  4. Next, start tackling the Zones. The emails will instruct which zone you are in each week, and the specific tasks to do each day for that zone.
  5. Last, enjoy all the extras in the daily emails, including testimonials, “Afternoon Tea” live video sessions with FlyLady, the latest deals in her FlyShop, etc.

Note: FlyLady now has a new FlyLady Express option, where you can get her many daily emails sent in one concise email a day. This option costs $4.99/mo, however, because of the time it takes her to pull these together every day. But she firmly believes in her method of us getting emails throughout the day for reinforcement, encouragement and reminders. I find that when I’m actively doing the FlyLady system, the many emails don’t bother me too much – I simply read the ones that peak my interest, and delete the rest.

FlyLady Pairs Perfectly with Norwex

I’ll put a plug in here because I so strongly love these products, I became a consultant to get these awesome cleaning aids at a discount. Norwex has simple, green cleaning solutions for every part of your home and body. Their Envirocloth and body cloths are made with silver, so they do not get mildewy. When you rub it against itself, it kills 99% of all germs. This means you can actually clean your house with a Norwex Envirocloth and hot water – no need for toxic or any other cleaning agents.

Yes, you read that right. All you need is your Norwex Envirocloth and hot water. Talk about ease and simplicity, as well as being green for the Earth. I’ve found that the tight weave of the Envirocloth picks up and cleans my kitchen counters SO much better than my kitchen cloths I was using. This tightly-woven silver-infused cloth also works great as a Body Cloth, which exfoliates and cleans your skin and face, as well as removing makeup. Good-bye, make-up wipes!

Check out these incredible products here.

Helpful Links & Ideas for the FlyLady Cleaning Schedule

Because I like games and tactile motivators, I came up with a Mancala FlyLady BabySteps Game:

  1. Use a standard Mancala board, but have all different color stones (any kind of stone, real or glass, or beads, etc.)
  2. For each BabyStep, I choose a particular stone to represent that task; IE., I chose white for “Shine your kitchen sink” because my kitchen sink is white. Each day when I complete this new habit, I move that stone along in the mancala board. I do this with each of the 31 BabySteps as applicable (some of them are one-time tasks). I include the longer depression on the end of the board when moving the stones around the board.
  3. Each day I move a stone and remember what I’m supposed to do (Hot Spot for 2 mins; Check my Control Journal, etc.).
  4. It’s fun, and the idea is that by the time each stone starts collecting in the starting depression, it means I’m doing that task as a daily habit. The starting depression should fill up as I near the end of the 31 Babysteps. (And I can have a stone keep going around if I still need the reminder.)

Another Tip: FlyLady has you build (or you can buy) a Control Journal, your central notebook to organize your life and home. You can make it completely from scratch, but I fell in love with this Etsy shop’s PDF version of the FlyLady Control Journal Template. When I asked, she even made me a 31 BabyStep Checklist, too. Etsy.com is a great resource for your Control Journal.

Helpful Links for getting started with FlyLady:

If you want a clean house, but don’t like to clean, this is for you.

I’m only into the 31 BabySteps by about a week, but already my home is looking cleaner and more feng shui. Granted, I didn’t have a huge cluttered mess to begin with, and the FlyLady system works miracles for those starting out with such a challenge. In my house, having several small spaces decluttered and my house already a little cleaner is blessing me in so many ways, who would have thought?

Comment below if you have used and/or like the FlyLady system, and also comment below if you’d like me to get you a discount to Norwex products on my site. I will see what I can do for you. 🙂

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Let me Define Larping – and its Unexpeced Blessings

Besides wanting to define larping here with its interesting and unexpected blessings, I’ll share with you some larping costumes I’ve worn.

Define Larping

Larping means Live Action Role Play. It’s like playing D&D or another tabletop role-play game, only instead of sitting around a table rolling dice to see if you’ve picked the lock, we’re actually out in nature and have to literally pick a lock with lock picks. It’s like an adventure computer game, similar to Skyrim, for example, only instead of sitting home watching a screen, we’re actually running around in the real weather in the woods, joining guilds, going on quests, exploring crypts and dungeons, dealing with politics with the nobility, and fighting large battles while also handling all kinds of weather and conditioning our bodies with trekking through hill and dale and dealing with snow, rain, cold or heat.

In other words, it’s like feeling totally alive and living every moment.

It’s like a survival challenge in a made-up world. Survival in a medieval fantasy setting with elves, dwarves, wizards and fae, or in a post-apocalyptic setting with zombies, Raiders, mutated monsters and human factions, or in an Urban Fantasy setting with werewolves and vampires, or in a…well, you get the idea.

What is larping really like?

Until you actually try it, it’s difficult to convey what it’s really like, but I’ll try. Do you remember playing make-believe when you were a kid? It’s like that, only with adults who know how to craft the most amazing costumes, make-up and accessories with real-looking foam boffer weapons of all kinds.

Does the crypt really look like a crypt? No, it is actually a girl scout cabin on the site we rented for the weekend (one weekend a month, with a few months off in winter). There’s a Marshal there, running this particular quest, and they describe what we “see” before we start this adventure:

“Going down the dark stairs you come into a crypt, with dust and cobwebs everywhere, sarcophagi along the walls…”

There are some decorations in the cabin to make it look cool, like maybe some LED candles or medieval-style torches, with a treasure chest in one spot (which may be trapped), some coins in a golden bowl in another area, etc.

You will be amazed at what the human imagination can do. When we’re in the moment, playing our character, and an NPC monster is coming at us with swords, it really feels like we’re adventuring in a deep, dark crypt and fighting for our lives. Your adrenaline kicks in, you go into fight or flight mode, and the magic happens.

What is an NPC?

Anyone familiar with computer gaming know that an NPC is a “non-player character.” Basically these are the people and creatures you meet when you’re playing the game, be they local townspeople, or the giant rat attacking you or the undead swarming the night. Or the newly-turned vampire hunting for blood in the woods near your path to your cabin. Or the barbarian tribe we have to negotiate peace treaties with. Or the fae queen trying to lure you into following her into the forest…

In larping, we have volunteers play the many varied NPCs. In my own local Alliance Denver Larp I play in, when a person chooses to NPC for a whole weekend, they get to go for free, with meals and lodging provided. The costumes and make-up are also provided, and as an NPC one weekend I got to play a drunken towns person in the tavern, a funny, friendly goblin, a newly-turned vampire out for blood, and a shambling zombie going right through enemy lines. It was so much fun.

Speaking of cost

So if you NPC all weekend, your event is free AND you’re rewarded with points and such which will later help you with your character development, AND with our local chapter, for every five events you NPC full-time, you get a FREE Player Character (PC) weekend event.

When you’re not NPCing, you’re playing your main character, called your PC (Player Character). To attend my local Alliance event as a PC, it costs anywhere from $50-$80 for lodging and the event itself, then another $20-$25 or so for meals (three meals provided over the weekend). My annual membership is $30. First-time players usually get a free or deeply discounted weekend event, just to try it out.

I could go real cheap by tent camping, which costs less, and bringing my own food. But with tent camping, for my character, not only is it much more work, but I’m never safe because I can’t ward it against monsters, so I could be attacked at any time in the night. If I’m by myself in my tent, my chances of survival are not high. So I opt to pay the extra $20-$30 to stay in a cabin with other adventurers. This way someone is usually able to ward the cabin (a magical protection which most monsters cannot enter), or even if we are attacked, there are plenty of others in there and we can fight together.

With the food,  by opting for the meal plan for an extra $20 or so, I don’t have to pack and bring coolers, cooking tools and food. I can simply go to the tavern at the set times and enjoy a hot, home-cooked meal.

So for a full weekend event, it usually costs me around $70-$85, depending on the site, meal plan, and particular costs. Our chapter generally hosts one weekend event a month, taking 1-3 months off in the winter. There are several larps here in Colorado, and one of the medieval fantasy types, called Nero, larps all year long (yes, that means in the snowy mountains, sleeping in cabins with no heat, unless they bring their own propane heaters).

Larping’s Unexpected Blessings

  • When I first started larping, it was partly because I didn’t have the time to fully participate in the medieval re-enactment society (SCA), my first love. With the SCA, to really become a part of the community, you have to attend every event and activity (like weekly fighter’s practice and baronial meetings, guild meetings and weekend events) in order to get to know people and get the most out of the experience. I just didn’t have the time while I was running a couple of businesses and parenting four teenagers. With larping, you make friends immediately in the survival environment and going to an event once a month is enough.
  • At the time, my business was dying and I was under an incredible amount of stress – as in not sleeping at night and trying not to have a nervous break-down. I couldn’t get out from under the pressure, couldn’t get my mind to stop thinking about it for a moment. Larping is so immersive, it was the one place where I could actually forget my troubles and do something completely different, a true escape, pushing my body’s limits and recharging my emotional creativity. I could be someone else for a weekend, a leafy dryad having medieval adventures. It was a life-saver for me when I most needed it.
  • I really want to travel the world, and am working toward that goal. Until I am doing that regularly, larping is a way to travel to a different “dimension,” with some of the same benefits of globe-trotting – being in a completely new culture and environment, dealing with challenges, experiencing new things, meeting new people, creating amazing memories.
  • A truly unexpected blessing I’ve noticed: I’ve interacted with a couple of people who have a physical deformity. In our modern youth-loving beauty culture, they’re usually seen as defective and different, and I imagine they’re treated differently, even if they’re just stared at. But in the larp culture, these players can play an interesting character and whatever their physical “weakness” is in the modern world, works perfectly in the fantasy world, enhancing it, in fact. These adventurers are seen and treated the same as everybody else – they are simply another adventurer with a war wound, perhaps, or a mutation caused by the bombing and radiation after the government tried to eradicate all the zombies. Or maybe it’s a trait they were born with, being part tree (or part elf, or part hippogriff, etc.). We’re all the same, just trying to survive in this new world.

I’ve included several photos of me in my various larping costumes – I mostly do Alliance Larp, Denver chapter, which is high fantasy (like LOTR and Narnia). But I also like to play Dystopia Rising when I can (post-apocalyptic zombie world).

Comment below your reactions and if you’d like to learn more about larping – I’ve been enjoying it tremendously these last three years and am willing to answer any of your questions (and continue to write endlenssly about it).

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Learning Why We Eat the Way We Do – Personality Types

This post has more to do with my own health journey, which affects all parts of our lives, including writing. I’m a little overweight, though up into my 30s I was that skinny girl who could eat whatever she wanted whenever she wanted. Since then, I’ve tried so many diet plans, but with every one I find myself rebelling against it in a fairly short time – unless I had an outside motivator, like a professional modeling or acting gig coming up. I wear a woman’s size 14-16 but I used to always be a size 10, and would love to return to that, my perfect size for my 5’9″ frame.

The Enneagram

Some friends recently mentioned the Enneagram – I haven’t yet read it, but it’s a book and method of finding out your own spiritual personality type, if you will. There are several books on Amazon.com which teach the Enneagram, and I will be exploring that soon.

The Enneagram of Eating

Instead, I saw this version of the method and immediately put it on hold with my Libby app (an app to check out ebooks from your local library). I haven’t even finished it yet but I’m learning so much about myself, which explains why diets have never, ever worked for me.

Adventurer

The Enneagram lists nine personality types. When reading The Enneagram of Eating, I saw myself right away in Type Seven – the adventurer. This type (me) wants to experience new things, new tastes, new foods, new adventures – all with total freedom. That means no restrictions whatsoever, which translates to “diets will never work because every diet restricts you in some way or another.” In fact, my body now automatically goes into rebellion mode – anytime I try a new diet plan and set restrictions on my eating, my body then goes into overdrive craving the specific foods I’m not supposed to have. It’s like an obsession, it’s all I can think about, and eventually I end up giving in to it.

The Nine Eating Personality Types

Here is a brief overview of the Nine Types in The Enneagram of Eating:

  1. Type One: The Self-Righteous Sinner or the Selfless Saint
  2. Type Two: The Giving Gorger or the Humble Helper
  3. Type Three: Fast Food, Fast Life or the Chomping Champion
  4. Type Four: Moody Muncher or Creative Connoisseur
  5. Type Five: The Neglectful Nosher or Ruminating Relisher
  6. Type Six: The Fight-or-Flight Feaster or Courageous Culinarian
  7. Type Seven: The Gallivanting Gourmet or the Discerning Diner (what I call The Adventurer)
  8. Type Eight: The Binging Bully or the Forgiving Feaster
  9. Type Nine: Sluggish Scoffer or the Serene Health-Seeker

In the book author Ann Gadd goes through each type, and covers the underlying motivators (fear, shame, loneliness, etc.) which affect our eating habits in ways we’re probably not even aware of. She looks at each type’s primary Issue, Overview, likely Career Choices, Eating Triggers, How each type approaches eating and their own body image (including eating out and entertaining at home), each type’s food choices, what you may not see (behind the scenes in each personality type), how each type views their bodies, likely addictions, childhood contributors, and which diets and exercise programs will serve them best. Ann Gadd even includes how to motivate the various types (good to help your significant other – after fully understanding them), and what each level of the types look like – when they’re functioning in the most healthy manner, or on an average level (mixture of both healthy and unhealthy habits), and what they fall into when living unhealthy lifestyles.

Time to Change Your Own Habits in the Best Way for You

At first I resonated a lot with Type Four, until I read Type Seven, which is completely spot-on me. You may find you match with one or another of these until you find where you actually are. There’s also some overlap and some numbers in the special diagram affect each other in smaller detailed ways.

The good news – for Type Seven, the best advice Ann Gadd has is to slow down, every time I eat. Eating too fast (so I can get on to the next adventure right away) is my Number One Bad Habit. I always thought it was because I grew up with three brothers and I had to eat fast in order to get enough food, or that maybe I always ate fast because I’d get so hungry as a teen (with my fast metabolism). Now I see it’s more about my Enneagram eating personality type. Slowing down, learning to become mindful of my eating (no more eating while also reading, working or watching TV), actually sounds completely doable for me – though it will be a challenge. If this is all I have to really conquer in order to lose my excess weight, I’ll be a perfectly happy camper!

I had my right hip replaced six weeks ago (end of March, 2019), and I’m now finally allowed to start exercising again. I find that I have to move regularly to keep my mind sharp and my senses stimulated – it’s too easy to just sit at my desk with all the writing and researching I do every day. So it’s now back to my normal life – back to exercising and getting up to move more in my working day. (This is also why I love larping – it pushes my body to the extreme of moving).

I’ll be adding “Mindful Eating” to my daily task goals on my app, Streaks. If I can stick with this goal for a good length of time, hopefully I will see results! I’d like to lose forty pounds, but even losing that first ten makes such a huge difference in how I feel and look.

This book, The Enneagram of Eating, by Ann Gadd, is found on Amazon.com as well as at the library.

Please comment below on mindful eating, on eating personalities, if you’ve read the book, what type you are, and what its solution has done to help you become a more healthy you.

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